Governator signs SB 1520
- [Great news in today's SF Chronicle]
Governor vetoes bills on offshoring jobs
Legislation bans foie gras starting in 2012
John M. Hubbell, Mark Martin, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau
Thursday, September 30, 2004
Sacramento -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed one of legislative Democrats' biggest priorities of the year Wednesday by rejecting three measures intended to prevent businesses from sending jobs abroad.
He also became the nation's first governor to approve a ban on the sale and production of foie gras, the hyper-fattened duck liver.
Nearing today's deadline to act on legislation, Schwarzenegger blocked Democrats' efforts to restrict outsourcing, one of their biggest objectives.
The chief bill would have prohibited the state from contracting with any company that planned to use foreign workers to do the job. The other two measures would have banned health care companies from storing consumers' health information outside the country and prohibited the state from outsourcing work done by the state's Office of Homeland Security.
In a lengthy veto message of AB 1829 by Assemblywoman Carol Liu, D-La Canada Flintridge, Schwarzenegger characterized an outsourcing ban as a restriction of foreign trade that could hurt the economy and stymie entrepreneurship.
"Our focus should not be on erecting artificial barriers that that will thwart the spirit of our citizens and the businesses that will help our economy grow,'' he said.
The governor cited a recent study by the Public Policy Institute of California that concluded that the outsourcing phenomena affected relatively few workers and that a ban could have unintended negative consequences, such as a slow-down of foreign investment in California.
The study was actually commissioned by Assembly Democrats, who suffered some embarrassment with the results.
Applauded by the state Chamber of Commerce, Schwarzenegger was blasted by Democrats, who said the governor protected big corporations at the expense of workers.
"Now, the people's tax dollars will continue to support jobs in India and Mexico,'' said Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles.
The foie gras bill, SB1520 by Sen. John Burton, D-San Francisco, will take effect in 2012 and ban the production and sale of the delicacy if produced by a controversial but standard method in which ducks and geese are overfed via a tube inserted down their throats.
The bill's chances appeared dim in August when Schwarzenegger told National Public Radio that the Legislature should be busying itself with more important matters. "They are sitting there, and I am getting bills here about how to feed a goose," he told NPR.
But the bill was carried by Burton, with whom Schwarzenegger confers regularly, and lobbied for by a host of Hollywood celebrities allied with animal-rights causes.
In a signing message, Schwarzenegger said the bill "provides 7 1/2 years for agricultural husbandry practices to evolve and perfect a humane way for a duck to consume grain."
Many chefs, however, have long held the age-old method is the only way to produce foie gras and said the governor's signature could have the practical effect of banishing the delicacy from the state's high-end restaurants.
"This is way more anti-business than any of the other bills," said Dan Scherotter, executive chef at San Francisco's Palio d'Asti and a member of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association's board of directors. Customers will "fly to Vegas to eat it. People used to fly to San Francisco to do fine dining -- and they don't anymore."
Guillermo Gonzalez, who runs the state's sole foie gras farm, said in a statement late Wednesday that "we ... are excited to work with his administration on a long-term solution."
But even animal rights activists doubted a different method could be found, and they lauded Schwarzenegger's move.
"We do not believe there is another way," said Teri Barnato, national director of the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights. By 2012, she said, "we hope ... consumers will be educated on the issue" enough to eliminate demand.
Also Wednesday, Schwarzenegger signed AB1857 by Assemblyman Paul Koretz, D-West Hollywood, which bans the declawing of animals used in entertainment, while vetoing SB89 by Sen. Dede Alpert, D-San Diego, that looked to legalize ferret ownership.
Schwarzenegger said he was concerned that the state had not conducted an environmental impact report to gauge the effect of sanctioning the furry pets.
"I love ferrets," he said in his veto message. "I costarred with a ferret in 'Kindergarten Cop.' However, this bill is far too bureaucratic."
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Here is another BAD thing that the governor did.
So he is down 2, for the oursourcing and the homeowner foreclosures, but
up 1 for banning foie gras.